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Harry is in awe of the wonders of Chomet & Tati's THE ILLUSIONIST!


I’ve had the opportunity since rehab began to see a few films here at the hospital.   Most of them have to do with the DVD Column or just personal motivation.  But when I received a very rare screener for THE ILLUSIONIST (2010) by Sylvain Chomet, as adapted from an original Jacques Tati screenplay…  I was ecstatic.


I’ve watched it 3 times – and having watched TOY STORY 3 (3 times) and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (3 times) – I believe I can say with absolute personal authority, that THE ILLUSIONIST is the very best animated feature in competition for the Oscar.




Well, both TOY STORY 3 and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON are exceptional, thoroughly entertaining commercial animated films.   There’s a clinical cleanness to it all which makes it absolutely like watching moving candy.   It’s sweet to the eyes.   Both films well up emotions, but there’s so much more that THE ILLUSIONIST does in it’s oh too brief running time.


Tati was a comedic genius, but when paired with the astonishing particular quirky genius of Sylvain Chomet, whose TRIPLETS OF BELLVILLE blew me away…  well it creates something entirely beyond anything Chomet has done to date.


Residing within THE ILLUSIONIST is the soul of Charles Chaplin.   This isn’t a silent film, the sounds are wonderful and in its own particular way musical.   What you don’t really have, is dialogue.   Any that you hear is incidental.   Instead, everything is told in gestures, expressions, body language and action…  the forte’s of  animation.


I’ve often talked to Cartuna about how much I love that we’ve conspired on hundreds of animations without ever resorting to the cheapness of sound for a gag.   But watching THE ILLUSIONIST – I found myself no longer recouping in a hospital rehab bed, but with my chubby chin upon the back of a theater seat, sitting on the edge of my own with a blissful smile pasted and growing consistently throughout the experience.


So much of what the film is – is left to the viewer for interpretation.   At least on the print I was sent, there were no subtitles, but like I said, there’s not really any dialogue, and what dialogue there is – is actually words in the various languages that I’m actually versed in.   How convenient.  


The film is about an older magician working on the edge of irrelevance.   Rock n Roll is beginning to take the stages away from the Vaudeville and antiquated acts of old.   The tumblers, the ventriloquists and the illusionists are all finding it increasingly difficult to get any kind of paying gigs.


In one particularly sad gag, you see our titular character prepping off stage, excited to go out after a popular band, that just continues to play encore after encore…   and when he finally does take the stage, the teeny bopping audiences have fled to try to rip the clothes off of the band members, leaving him in an enormous, mostly empty theater with folks that don’t really care at all about the magic he is performing – and yet he still performs beautiful magic.   The Presto-digitation of this magician is simply a wonder.   As someone that was a stage magician’s assistant throughout my youth, I can appreciate and see what it is they are animating.   Sleight of hand is an artform.  One, as beautifully unique as any form of martial arts or dance.   This Illusionist is a master.   Whomever they based his movements upon was also amazing.  


The Illusionist leaves the big city for an island community and what seems to be a gig in a pub.   He feels fantastic, as the crowd eats up his every gag – and then there’s this one particularly curious girl that he constantly performs a bit of magic for.  Constantly delighting her.   We’re led to believe that this is his daughter – and when he goes to leave, she goes with him, back to Edinburgh – and …


Let me stop there.


Before I can continue there’s something I must convey.   Unlike TOY STORY 3 and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – THE ILLUSIONIST has the capacity to convey atmosphere.   I have never been to Scotland, but Edinburgh – after watching it has become a place that I must travel to in my lifetime.  You feel like you can smell this place.   Like you can breath in the quality of the air.   That might have to do with the fact that I use New Zealand Springs Febreze, but you can see the wind constantly blowing – the clouds never cease to cast moving shadows over the landscapes – the blades of grass flowing, the ocean moving and the whole place is alive.


This is very in keeping with the world of Tati.   If you’ve seen his PLAYTIME or any of his films – they tend to be visual beyond all else.   Orchestrated bliss.  Because the film isn’t about dialogue and conversation – it is about observation and analysis.  


The film requires you to pay attention and to think.   To interpret what you see and find meaning in what you’re seeing.  This isn’t a spoon fed children’s tale, with large emotionally stacked scenes…   this is a story about the sadness of progress, one out-living one’s usefulness, the shame of working in a job you do not love to earn end’s meat.   This is a poverty tale about the loss of dreams. 


Last night on Twitter, I had a person write me that said his passion for writing about music was killed by his ex-wife, and I wrote him to say – the good news is she’s your ex-wife, what’s your excuse now? 


Movies like THE ILLUSIONIST are wonderful cautionary tales about becoming obsolete, losing your dreams and being ashamed of who you are becoming.   It’s not as heartwarming as a group of toys living a new life with a new kid…  or a boy that makes peace between a Viking village and the Dragon menace…   but THE ILLUSIONIST has truth, the real heart-ache of existence, the brilliant whimsy of pathos and through animation – it captures an impression of reality that is so intensely beautiful and magical that it will make you dream of Edinburgh.


I’ve managed to write of this brilliant film without giving away the awesome gallery of supporting characters that make this film so magical.  Discover this film.   Go with eyes ready to soak in the story.   I truly feel for the people that can’t see the genius of this movie, but for those that can – there will be few richer experiences ahead of you this year…  unless we’re extremely lucky.   This is magic.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 13, 2011, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Love this movie


    This is exactly how much I love Chomet & Tati's THE ILLUSIONIST

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    beautifully drawn film

    by john

    but it drags a bit in the middle i wish it would win the oscar, because we need more classic animation....but everyone knows that toy story is a shoo-in

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Been looking forward to this one for a long time.

    by FlickaPoo

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Goddamn, these first black box posts are annoying...

    by FlickaPoo their redundant pointlessness. Some sort of twitter thing, I guess.

  • ...after haring so much about it.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 5:05 p.m. CST


    by Rogue Trooper

    Watching this film was much enhanced by watching it in the city in which it is set and in the cinema (and very screen) which appears in one scene in the film. The animation is great and really brings Edinburgh to life. There's a CGI enhanced scene that I love that sweeps around Edinburgh and I'm looking forward to seeing that scene on DVD.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 5:13 p.m. CST


    by kurtisaurus

    My girlfriend took me to this last night in a little boutique theater in Redmond (Big Picture) and neither of us knew too much about it but it seemed like a good Valentine's Day film. I was hesitant at first but got sucked in quickly and totally entranced. Gorgeous animation and heartbreaking in its execution. Gotta go see some Tati to see what he was all about. That bunny ruled by the way.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Walked out half-way through

    by pirandello

    Although I paid for me and my friend to see this flick, this was the first film I walked out of half way through. It relied too much on technique. Too much on it's heritage. There were too many wasted opportunities. The script was a series of setups for inspired clowning, but no clowning was forthcoming. For example, our hero is charged with looking after the car of a stereotypical American. You'd expect some perfectly timed mishaps, a mini-journey of success, failure and success (or vice versa). Sadly, he has a couple of simple problems, and the scene ends. It was like a movie equivalent of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's stage musical version of Sunset Boulevard, as the old Broadway cavil has it "I came out whistling the sets." That's why reviewers love the portrait of Britain in the 50s. Based on the first half, 'The Illusionist' felt like a 20 minute story squeezed into a 95 minute film. However, it might have picked up after our hero's ward decides to get involved with the cooking... PS: Not "working in a job you do not love to earn end’s meat" but "doing a job you do not love to make ends meet"

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 6:38 p.m. CST

    pirandello, you're a trollish prick

    by MattmanReturns

    You have no business critiquing a film you didn't finish. Get the fuck out of here.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 6:55 p.m. CST


    by Schnorbitz

    Saw it late last summer in London, having just got back from a few days in Edinburgh for the Fringe. What a beautiful and heart-breaking (and funny) film this is. I agree with everything Harry says.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Didn't read your review Harry

    by kungfuhustler84

    Because I am going to see this an hour! I have been waiting for this since Twitch put up a trailer for it last year. Tripletts of Belleville is one of those movies I have to show to people, I love it so much. I'm hoping for more of the same!

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 7:06 p.m. CST

    the illusionist & edinburgh

    by maxwell's hammer

    I took a group of middle schoolers to see this yesterday, followed by a Q&A with one of the animators, Justin Hall, and his wife, who was an assistant producer. Needless to say, they were madly in love with the film when it was over, as it was so far outside the norm of the usual animated fare they're exposed to. There was much hyperbolic praise about how it was the best movie they'd ever seen, which I think will settle down into genuine longterm admiration, even after they've had a week or so to let the movie sit with them. And I've actually been to Edinburgh, and the film captures both the country and city aspects of Scotland pretty accurately. As a matter of fact, Mr. and Mrs. Hall are actually from Edinburgh, and said that almost all of the animation was done there. I was wondering if anyone here at AICN would ever get around to seeing/reviewing it. I really can't recommend it more highly. Its quite a shame it probably won't win the Oscar. During the Q&A, someone actually asked if they thought it would win, and Mr. Hall pretty quickly dismissed that possibility. The moderator helpfully insisted that maybe since "The Illusionist" was so different than its competition, maybe it stood an outside chance. To which Mr. Hall responded: "Have you ever actually watched the Oscars?"

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 7:45 p.m. CST

    " awe"? As in "all kinds of awesome"?

    by DoctorWho?

    Which is how Harry described Willow Smith's insipid music vid? Blanket statements of greatness for anything Harry watches are tiresome. However, these passionate posts from TB'ers have me intrigued to check this out.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 8:12 p.m. CST


    by RZA

    Fell asleep through ILLUSIONIST. Incredible animation, inventive soundtrack, boring-as-fuck script. But then, I've always thought Jacques Tati was overrated...

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Great review, Harry

    by arjuna

    I hope you're feeling well, and making good progress. I love Tati's films on Criterion, and can't wait to see this one. So glad Chomet was able to pull it off!

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 10:03 p.m. CST

    "I’ve watched it 3 times"

    by Trazadone

    Jesus, dude, do you ever read books? Seriously, with all your down time why not crack a book instead of watching the same movie multiple times? I'm always blown away by how simple you are.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 10:46 p.m. CST

    "THE ILLUSIONIST has the capacity to convey atmosphere"

    by MattmanReturns

    The fuck? How to Train Your Dragon didn't have atmosphere? Jesus, you're daft.

  • That's shit a five-year-old does, not a grown man. I don't care if it's a brilliant film, I need a few months between viewings of movies, or at the very least weeks. I mean, looking at individual scenes, watching with the commentary on...okay, I can understand that, but watching a movie ALL THE WAY THROUGH a couple times in a week or even day strikes me as disturbingly obsessive-compulsive.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 11:14 p.m. CST

    "We're led to believe that this is his daughter..." Uh, NO.

    by DickBallsworth

    For someone who watched this film three times, how the hell did you get such an off-base idea like that? The girl is simply the scullery maid at the pub, and she attaches herself to him for -at first- good reason due largely for his act of hocus-pocus flavored kindness, and then once they settle in Edinburgh, her "gimme gimme" antics distance him from her until her final denoument. Heatbreaking? Yes. Daughter? No.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 11:37 p.m. CST

    I envy you Harry. To be able to see the Illusionist multiple times.

    by BirdieNumNum

    I saw it the other day for the first time and so wanted to be in that movie. Nothing this year even non-animated movies made you feel like you were there like The Illusionist. You could feel the chill in the wind when they were in the highlands of Scotland. It's a shame most people are not seeing this at all. There are already more How to train your Dragon films being made right now but we'll never know what becomes of Tatischeff. I say watch it again! Don't wait a few months! Give in to that obsessive-compulsive-aspergered child inside and watch till your eyeballs fall out because I bet you won't see such beautiful craftsmanship on the screen like in The Illusionist for quite some time. Anyone who thought it drags is just a drag themselves. There is bubblegum and then there is art.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 11:43 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    ...spoken like someone who hasn't actually seen "The Illusionist". There is a MASSIVE difference between a fully realized setting and atmosphere. A lot of the really well done CGI films have the former. Chomet's film is dripping with the latter.

  • Feb. 13, 2011, 11:55 p.m. CST

    I don't think reviews like this do the film much good...

    by Chewtoy

    "Hey, you know Film A and Film B that you've seen and loved? Film C is sooo much better. Seriously, the films you're attached to can't do half the shit this film does. It makes them look cheap and tawdry." You realize that turns off a ton of people, right? At the very least, it sends them into seeing the Illusionist with a chip on their shoulder. Any time you make it a competition, you make people pick sides. Why have people feel like siding against this film before they even get to see it for themselves?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:50 a.m. CST


    by smylexx

    also loved this film. The animation really is beautiful. This is a film i was still thinking about hours, days later which is more than i can say for either Train Your Dragon or Toy Story 3 which vanished from my mind by the time i'd left the cinema car-park. Don't agree for one second that the girl in the film is the titular hero's daughter. The man goes where the work is -he ends up in the most remote corner of the world to do his gig and fate brings him together with the pub's hired-help. They appear to have no shared past and she is initially shy of even approaching him. For someone who has seen the film three times and apparently understands the medium, i'm amazed Harry got to that conclusion.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:25 a.m. CST

    The lady and I both liked it

    by kungfuhustler84

    but damn was that some sad shit, and I kind of missed the more exaggerated style in Triplets of Belleville, but it still had beautiful animation and a good story. I still haven't seen Toy Story 3 or that dragon movie though.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Expected to be blown away by "Triplets"

    by ides

    On paper, it was everything I love in a film. On screen, it was pretty, sounded great, and was absolutely nothing else. I hope this is better.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:46 a.m. CST

    "...the shame of working in a job you do not love to earn end’s meat."

    by eveelcapitalist

    I got your meaty end right here, fatty, now open wide!

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:49 a.m. CST

    As someon from Edinburgh...

    by dj_bollocks

    it's a great piece of animation... loved it... hope you enjoy it too !

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:51 a.m. CST

    I live in Edinburgh

    by Ray Gamma

    Please don't tell everyone to start coming here. It's a well kept secret. Thanks.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Pixar will win because Oscar voters are

    by Dennis_Moore


  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:53 a.m. CST

    I also live in Edinburgh

    by A G

    And I can happily say that half of the world seems to come here already. Frankly they are welcome, the sheer volume of visitors contributes to the overwhelmingly awesome experience of the Festival. Still haven't seen the Illusionist though...

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:04 a.m. CST

    Atmosphere and Animation

    by The Chosen

    The atmosphere part of your review is utterly true. You can feel the place. You can begin to predict what you will see in the next corner. You can become familliar with the city, you feel like home in another planet. And the animation, the swiftness of his hands doing tricks, his movement, is outstanding. Truthfully a sad movie. Not for the kids. And maybe that afects some people. It's a slow paced movie. It gets heavy in tone (the parts with the clown are downright depressing). If Toy Story get the Oscar, Illusionits got a nomination at least, meaning that the Academy has not yet lost it's sight. If TS3 doesn't get the Oscar and this does, then it will be a blast.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:45 a.m. CST

    I'm not from Edinburgh...

    by workshed

    ...I'm a Yorkshireman, but in Aug/Sept 92 I had the privilege of running a cabaret bar at the Edinburgh Festival (at the Masonic Lodge in Morningside to be exact). On the last night of the festival I was on a date with the very talented actress Debra Stephenson (well known on British tv) and after the nights jollities were over we decided to take a walk all around the city, which we did for the about five hours until the sun began to rise, by which time we were at the top of the castle hill. This film brought back memories of that wonderful time and made me recall the scene in 'Red Shoes' where Victoria and Julian are laid in the cart. Sorry for being such a romantic sod but this film is utterly beautiful. And I thought Chomet would never be able to top Belleville. Btw - if you're a fan of this kind of animation see 'My Dog Tulip', also magic.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Workshed - Great Story

    by john

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:24 a.m. CST

    well said Harry, it deserves the Academy Award

    by livingwater

    .....and also because of the fact that Chomet and his team created an accomplishment in spite the outrageous political difficulties in making the film after Despereaux was foolishly wrestled from his directorial control. You should read about that... FYI there are six clips online:

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    I'm surprised no one

    by Darryll

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    I'm surprised no one

    by Darryll

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    I'm surprised no one

    by Darryll

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:29 a.m. CST

    I'm surprised no one . . .

    by Darryll

    has mentioned Tati's Mr. Hulot series. Mr. Hulot's Holiday was a major influence on this film.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Of course Harry liked this over Toy Story 3

    by D.Vader

    He's one of the only people on Earth to not like TS3 and its all bc Harry can't imagine giving away toys.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 11 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the review, Harry

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Sadly, something tells me The Illusionist will be one of the last of its kind. Pure cinema at its finest. :) :(

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Mr. Hulot

    by maxwell's hammer

    There's actually a scene in "The Illusionist" when the Tatischeff stumbles into a cinema, and on the screen is playing 'Mon Oncle'. It was a brilliant little moment...

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Avoid Edinburgh in July and August if you are "sensitive"

    by yamayama

    During the height of the Edinburgh festival it is an insane nutjob magnet. Every stand up comic, hustler, aspiring actor and theatre luvvy is there trying to sell and pitch themselves. If you can cope with that then you'll be ok. As a city, Edinburgh is like a beautiful bubble. Its a city in Scotland but not a scottish city. Lots of tourist shops and wandering tourists but you will be hard pushed to find a genuine scot amongst the tourist crowd.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Watch Mullans "N.E.D.S" for a sense of scottish tribalism.

    by yamayama

    NEDS is a good primer for preparing for the scottish character in all its best and worst glory. And yes Glasgow city is STILL like that!!

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:37 p.m. CST


    by A G

    Glasgow City is nothing like that depicted in NEDS. Even Peter Mullen himself acknowledges that Glasgow is very much a different place than when he grew up. It's the busiest shopping district in the UK outside of the West London for a start and has a constantly expanding financial district with billions of pounds of investment in retail and commercial developments.

  • Too bad very few of us have had the chance to see this because our local Godzillaplex has to have Adam Sandler, Justin Bieber, and The Green Hornet on multiple screens. Any word on DVDage?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Yeah, mattman. Gheesh.

    by Subtitles_Off

    Actual atmosphere vs. fantasy setting. "World-building" is all make-believe. You'll think Pandora is a place, if you want to, and you're sort of dull. That's different than being transported to an actual place that you can really live in, smell, experience. Everyone who has seen L'Illusionniste has said the same thing about the atmosphere. It must be a real accomplishment. Drawn by hand. Imagine that.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Maybe, Vades, but I didn't like TOY STORY 3 because

    by Subtitles_Off

    it was lazy, the weakest of the trilogy, and I can't be all that fussed about giving away toys. Show me a seventeen yr-old off to college for the first time whose main concern is his dolly, and that's a kid that needs to have a beer and get laid, real quick.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    And MY DOG TULIP didn't even get nominated!!!

    by Subtitles_Off

    They can scrape the bottom of the bucket to throw bones at blockbusters in the Best Film category, but they can't extend the Animated feature category to five --- in a year when I can name five without thinking? Pixar should be ashamed of having a gimme monopoly. They don't deserve it this year. Not even close.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:44 p.m. CST

    subtitles off

    by maxwell's hammer

    'Toy Story 3' isn't a movie about a college kid all worked up about giving away his dolly. The drama comes from the fact that he DOESN'T care, but the toys still do. It's basically a feature length version of the soul-crushingly sad "When She Loved Me", which is tied with the prologue from "Up" as the saddest thing ever. You can have your own opinion on the film, but if your abovestated critique is your reason for not liking it, I don't think you were paying attention.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    ....i do agree with everything you said about great animated films getting screwed at the Oscars.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Heyya Subby!

    by D.Vader

    I still haven't seen Toy Story 3, sadly, despite getting the blu for my birthday around Christmas. My point is that Harry didn't like Toy Story 3 to begin with, so for him to say "Its better than Toy Story 3!" doesn't mean much to me. If he thought Toy Story 3 was fantastic and STILL thought this movie was miles above that, then I'd think he was on to something. It'd be like me saying "Hey that new flick The Immortals? It blows the Clash of the Titans remake outta the water!" when I hated the Clash flick to begin with. There's not a high watermark there. But then again, I stopped trusting any review from Harry years ago.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:18 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    Well if Harry's praise is flawed, then I'll clarify from an anonymous nobody on a talkback forum: I loved 'Toy Story 3'. I don't think it was as consistent as the previous two installments, but it has moments that are as beautiful as anything in any Pixar film, and is totally deserving of its Oscar nominations, both as a Best Picture, and as as a Best Animated Feature. But "The Illusionist" is the far better film, due, not only to its beautifully nuanced animation and character design, but also for its superior handling of similar themes such as coping with obsolescence when the world moves on without you. I recall the emotional punch, in 'Toy Story 2' when Sarah McLachlan sings the sad and lovely "When She Loved Me". Pretty much, the entirity of "The Illusionist" feels like that, but without the emotional release that lets you leave the theater on a high note.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Actually I'm with pirandello

    by army_of_me

    I _did_ see the whole thing and he's not too far off in my opinion. I'm surprised at all the rave reviews from TBers so far; I loved the organic animation and meticulous set pieces but everything else left me flat, as a result it did seem to drag long. It was good - at times very good - but didn't bring tears to my eyes nor make me swoon with its magical glorious whimsical brilliance. Mark me down as one who doesn't see the genius (ditto for Triplets).

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Interesting, maxwell's hammer

    by D.Vader

    That's a review I can do something with.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:41 p.m. CST

    I have seen The Illusionist

    by D o o d

    and I can confirm that it is a very magical small animated film!

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    WTF? No mention of the controversy?

    by Chesterfield Slacks

    Chomet took the script from Tati's youngest daughter, who died before Triplets was released. It was meant to be a highly personal story inspired by his estranged, and still living, oldest daughter. Chomet never mentions this, and Tati's living family is truly pissed at his interpretation. "They accuse Chomet of attempting to airbrush out their painful family legacy again." - Guardian

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    End's Meat! Lawl!

    by PorkChopXpress

    I love it when people use phrases they don't understand the meaning of and have only heard spoken verbally. It cracks me up. Keep it up, Harry.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:03 p.m. CST

    "He DOESN'T care, but the toys still do."

    by Subtitles_Off

    You realize that makes it even dumber, right? Seems I'm not the one who wasn't paying attention.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:04 p.m. CST

    Spoken verbally...

    by PorkChopXpress

    I just cracked myself up.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:16 p.m. CST

    truth is, I mis-stated anyway.

    by Subtitles_Off

    I don't "dislike" TOY STORY 3. It's perfectly harmless. Follows the formula. Has two cool new characters. Entertains. Even the deus ex machina ending to the little adventure is satisfying. I can't stand this preening fawning over it, though. It is the weakest of the trilogy, and if you left the theater with sniffles, you're an emotional weakling. TANGLED had a deeper emotional core about parental loss and individual identity. It was, also, more fun and looked better. Films like THE ILLUSIONIST and MY DOG TULIP, even A TOWN CALLED PANIC, blow TS3 out of the water in terms of originality. So does HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. But Pixar zombies think their brand has a monopoly on quality.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7 p.m. CST

    how is it dumber?

    by maxwell's hammer

    If you're stuck at the literal interpretation only, then yes, I guess making a movie about how toys have emotions is pretty silly. But its quite a bit more than that, namely, the idea of being left behind while the rest of the world moves on. Like "The Illusionist", one of TS3's main themes is facing obselescence, which is actually quite sad.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:27 p.m. CST

    "Dumber" to get all choked up about, meant I.

    by Subtitles_Off

    Toys become obsolete. That's what they do. That, and break. Please don't compare that with an aging human being whose talent has become unappreciated. But, yeah, you've sort of gotten right to my point. Attributing that level of emotion to Pixar films is, in my opinion, knee-jerk, fanboy brand loyalty. It's just not there. It's anthropomorphic characters on a journey. Have fun with it, but don't make a life philosophy out of it. Of course, one of my five favorite films of all-time is PINOCCHIO. So, I've been through my whole toy/puppet phase. You realize PINOCCHIO wasn't nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. SNOW WHITE or BAMBI, either. I suppose TOY STORY 3 compares, the slightest, to those?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST

    I saw SNOW WHITE in theater re-release in the early 70s...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I think it's the first movie I saw in my life (that, or possibly THE RESCUERS). I had the record and danced around the house like a flairyboy... Anyway, I've been revering SNOW WHITE my entire life, but had only seen stills since I was a little kid. It hurts me to say this, but I watched it again recently with my three year old, and was pretty disappointed. It's amazing as a historical artifact, and it was interesting to see the Art Nouveau creeping in around the more familiar Disney style, but otherwise... Flat characters, stock storytelling...most of the gags were at the expense of a dwarf with fetal alcohol syndrome. The prince shows up out of nowhere to save her at the end... I'm getting a little bummed just thinking about it.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Just saw THE RESCUERS again, too...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...for the first time since I was four. Obviously minor Disney, but full of an oddly irresistible melancholy charm, and the character animation for Madame Medusa is pretty spectacular.

  • That would be your characterization of Dopey? Man, every time I think I'm just about getting over "hating" you, you gotta go and whip something like that out.

  • ...most of the jokes were about him being simple, and several bordered on cruel. It doesn't please me to have been disappointed with SNOW WHITE. It's been interesting seeing what movies hold up best. In a lot of cases, seeing them on blufancydisk and a decent TV is like seeing them for the first time. MARY POPPINS, for example, is spectacular (Dick Van Dyke's accent notwithstanding).

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:06 p.m. CST


    by D.Vader

    "Attributing that level of emotion to Pixar films is, in my opinion, knee-jerk, fanboy brand loyalty. " Denying that kind of possible emotional response to characters (who happen to be toys) is in my opinion knee-jerk, contrarian pessimism.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Toys become obsolete as they get older. Human beings age.

    by D.Vader

    That's what they do. I'm surprised you want to deny that kind of obvious connection for the sake of your argument.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:17 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    ...since subtitles_off has evolved into an enlightened being incapable of being duped into an emotional response by those treacly bastards at Pixar, I probably no longer can interact with him in any meaningful way. Enough of these bullshit films about anthropomorphised toys going on adventures. I'm going to watch "A Town Called Panic" instead. Thanks for the recommendation, subtitles_off.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:22 p.m. CST

    I think maxwell's Hammer just won the talkback

    by D.Vader

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Speaking of A Town Called Panic...

    by ennio

    ...funniest movie I saw last year, hands down. This thread made me queue it up again. The Illusionist was painfully real. The magician seeing his lifeblood slip away with no hope of righting the ship... devastating. Yet too beautiful to pass up. Just saw this over the weekend and haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Emotional Weakling?

    by rogueleader66

    Seriously? Wow that has to be one of the most incredibly arrogant and ignorant comments I have ever heard. Who the fuck does anyone thing they are to pass a judgment like that? That's the view of a narrow minded, self centered asshole. Pixar is not the only animation studio that has a brand on quality, but they are the most consistent as far as producing quality films. Even people who don't particularly care for Pixar's films can at least acknowledge the quality of their films. Except of course narrow minded fucks who feel they have the right to judge others on what they like. Must be lonely up there on your pedestal. Thank god we have you here to educate us in the error of our ways. Piss off you judgmental fuck. Different opinions I can deal with, in fact I embrace them. But being told I am an "emotional weakling".....fuck you.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    A lovely, bittersweet, melancholy film

    by Boxcutter

    Don't go expecting the visual hyperbole of Triplets, it's a simple, human nuanced story told in gorgeous pictures, a muted palette and resonant gestures. I'm a native of Edinburgh, born, raised, grew up (but arguably never matured) and live abroad now, and the cityscapes and details were just piercingly right. Saw it in a wonderful old theatre with my wife and two daughters, big fans of Tangled, Glee, the Pixar oeuvre, Miyazaki - expecting them to be disappointed by the lack of pzazz, overt gags, song, release and closure - even color. They were spellbound and sniffly come the credits. It's a gentle, insistent work which will be ignored at the Oscars (since when have they honestly had artistic relevance?) but which just clings to you and won't leave.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 2:56 p.m. CST

    I agree with the other Edinburgh talkbackers

    by Ray Gamma

    Edinburgh is probably the most beautiful city in the UK.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    Aw, lil rogueleader, don't wet your pants.

    by Subtitles_Off

    That's what an emotional weakling would do. "Oh the poor toys. They're abandoned [sniff, sniff]. Their boy doesn't wuv them anymore. [sniff, sniff]. My heart is breaking."

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 6:58 p.m. CST

    "I think maxwell's hammer just won the Talkback"

    by Subtitles_Off

    Vades, I thought you hated it around here? Couldn't tolerate it. It wasn't cool anymore. Harry didn't get you the "news" you wanted quick enough. Yet, here you are. Every day. Declaring winners and losers. Does it ever get old? Nope. It's addictive, isn't it?

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 9:14 p.m. CST

    I never said I hated it around here, Subby

    by D.Vader

    Only that I often hate how Harry and the gang conduct their business and how they treat their readership (which has absolutely nothing to do with how I feel about the talkbacks and those who participate in them). There's a big difference between the two. Regarding Maxwell's Hammer, I thought he pointed out a big flaw in your argument, and I thought he did it quite well. I have to respect that. Nothing personal, of course. I do miss chatting with you and reading your incomparable subbaries.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Hey Subs

    by rogueleader66

    Wet my pants? Over you?? Ha ha ha, now that is funny, you do have a sense of humor after all. It's too bad the only thing that makes you cry is when your boyfriend runs out of lube and you actually have to be the man for a change. Your quite amusing actually, so keep up your holier than thou schtick. it makes me laugh. Reading the opinions of narrow minded ignorants like you are always entertaining, because your deluded enough to actually believe your right. I remember way back whenever, you used to be a rational interesting person. now your just another troll who has such a high opinion of himself and thinks everyone else is beneath him. So sad. I feel sorry for you. Please continue, this must be therapeutic for you, obviously you need it.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    will you douchebags cut it out...

    by maxwell's hammer

    ...this is why the Talkbacks get such a bad wrap. Observe the staggeringly juveline level of discourse... subtitles_off: "only weaklings and pussies are moved by films about toys." rogueleader66: "more like YOU'RE a pussy." subtitles_off: "shut up. you wear diapers and cry and are a baby." rogueleader66: "more like, YOU wear diapers. And you like gay sex." I wait with bated breath for subtitles_off's triumphant response.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 10:25 a.m. CST


    by rogueleader66

    Where did I say any of those things? if your gonna quote me, at least get it right please. Oh yea I made a crack about lube, my bad. If you were paraphrasing, my bad as well. Hey listen, i am all for different opinions and all, but someone telling me I am an emotional weakling, I take offense at that and cannot just let it go. Like I said, I don't know what happened to Subs but he used to be an ok guy, now he thinks he is some authority on what is good and bad, and if you are not in line with his opinions, you know nothing and your views are invalid. I cannot stand for that kind of arrogance. As it is, I am no longer engaging in a juvenile flame war with this idiot, because it's a pointless waste of time. If he wants to continue his childish rants, fine. I ignore children, and I will ignore him.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Holy shit, people get defensive about this movie

    by MattmanReturns

    My complaint was that Harry said it has atmosphere "Unlike TOY STORY 3 and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON". Look up atmosphere in the dictionary. By definition, both those movies have atmosphere. Perhaps what Harry meant was that Illusionist relies more on atmosphere or has MORE atmosphere. But to say the other two films don't have it is just extremist geek bullshit at its worst.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 1:56 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    Dude, stop being intentionally dense as a means to prove your 'superiority'. You know damn well what Harry (and the rest of us) meant, as evidenced by the fact that you actually stated what we meant in your post. Pretending we're wrong because we didn't hit the arbitrary semantic bullseye you errected is the kind of thing a 3rd grader does. Me: "Sure, 'Epic Movie' can call itself a movie, but if you want to see a REAL movie, go see 'Star Wars'." Mattmanreturns: "Look up 'movie' in the dictionary. By definition, both 'Epic Movie' and 'Star Wars' are both movies. Perhaps what Maxwell's Hammer meant to say is that 'Star Wars' is a better movie than 'Epic Movie'. To say 'Epic Movie' is not a movie is extreme geek bullshit at its worst." Well, we can't argue with that.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 5:51 p.m. CST


    by MattmanReturns

    I don't think I'm superior, but I was correct in pointing out Harry's retarded comment. Whatever he meant, I criticized what he SAID. And I actually defended this movie against that asshole up there who said he walked out halfway through, then proceeded to review it. Stop being so defensive, I'm actually on your side.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 5:52 p.m. CST

    And I'm sick of people like Harry

    by MattmanReturns

    stepping on the faces of other great films in order to pimp whatever just gave them a boner. THAT'S what I don't like about his statement.

  • Feb. 17, 2011, 4:39 a.m. CST

    I miss Edinburgh now

    by Scott Gallacher

    I was born and raised in Edinburgh, but I now live in Melbourne, Australia. This movie is amazing. There is so much detail that is accurate, like the pawnbrokers, statues, just lots of little things. It so captures the atmosphere of Edinburgh. Its the first time since coming to Australia that I have been homesick for Edinburgh. Great movie!

  • Feb. 17, 2011, 1 p.m. CST

    by CarboneHed

    I had the chance to see this film a few mouths ago so it has had time to stew in my brain. Now that it's nice and ripe I feel that I can say without hesitation, this is the best animation of the year. Hell, this is one of the best films of the year. Period! Chomet does some truly fascinating stuff in The Illusionist. This film is both genuinely funny and heartbreaking. It's also a comment on how traditional animation has been replaced by CG animation. The Illusionist is brilliant on so many levels that it demands repeat viewings just to truly absorb every aspect of what it has to offer. It is playing the Paris Theater in NY and I for one can not wait to experience this film again.

  • Feb. 18, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    watched this today - and loved it

    by Ray Gamma

    I watched this today on Sky Box Office here in the UK, and yes it does certainly live up to the praise. I don't know if it's maybe particularly special for me as a native "Edinburger", seeing all the familiar locations rendered in an animated 1950's setting, but regardless of that, it is absolutely beautifully animated, and full of funny, lovely observant little character quirks that most animation can't be bothered to create, (such as people slightly tripping over and then trying to cover it up in embarrassment, that sort of thing). Without spoiling it, I found the story arc very beautiful and sad.

  • Feb. 18, 2011, 4:07 p.m. CST

    You can all stay with me in Edinburgh!

    by Nicoflex

    Well, maybe not everyone at once. In all seriousness, if any talkbackers and AICN folk end up in sunny Edinburgh I'll be happy to show you the sites and sounds. Try to get here in August as well. Ain't like anything you've seen before.

  • Feb. 18, 2011, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Priandello, yes, how dare you!?

    by Kremzeek

    ...Because we all know AICN is *the* place to be for honest, well-thought out reviews from TBers. I mean, it's not like everyone here goes apeshit crazy and completely judges a movie based on teaser trailers or the wrong colour pajamas on a superhero... Oh wait... I give you credit for giving a review based on half a movie. That's a whole half a movie more than most people here bother with.

  • Toy Story 3 will win the Oscar though due to its popularity and hype. Movie fans seem to be hailing it as Pixar's best though I fail to see it and inexplicably many can't stop proclaiming that fucking incinerator scene as the greatest scene in movie history. That is the definition of overrated!

  • Feb. 19, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Yeah ...

    by Cerpin

    Harry, you stopped talking about the film's plot after the young girl joins him, and I think it's because you know that from there it really stops making any sort of sense. A shame, really, as the animation is beautifully done.

  • Feb. 19, 2011, 3:58 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    Maybe they should have included a car chase and more exploding robots. Then maybe you would have found the plot easier to follow.

  • Feb. 23, 2011, 5 p.m. CST

    Since we're talking about animation......

    by Raggles Wimpole

    I just watched "The Secret of Kells" for the first time on Blu-ray on a rather large high def screen & I gotta say my mind was significantly blown. This is one of the most amazing, beautiful animated films I have ever seen. Why this did not get the attention it deserved, I will never know.

  • Feb. 24, 2011, 12:54 p.m. CST

    maxwell's hammer

    by Cerpin

    I think it might be time for you to put away your Jump To Conclusions Mat.

  • Feb. 27, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    At no time are we led to believe it's his daughter.

    by tHeGRinGoGenTiLE

    I don't know where you got that from.

  • Feb. 27, 2011, 4:22 p.m. CST

    I am impressed and moved by this film.

    by Madcapper

    It's been a long time since a film left me with this much on my mind.Subtle and beautiful. Rare combination these days I'd say.

  • Feb. 27, 2011, 6 p.m. CST


    by maxwell's hammer

    I have no idea what your response meant. Please add more car chases and exploding robots.